Chapter 7

Written by: Suraya Dewing

As the bus pulled into Penn station he knew Lucy might not be at the flat but it was a place to start searching.

Kebab’s sizzled on a kebab vendor’s plate making him realise how long it had been since he last ate.

He threw his two dimes into the empty cardboard box.

‘Travelled far?’ the kebab vendor asked.

Robert looked side-on to the man, suspicious. He took the kebab the man held out. He started to walk away then froze. A gun nozzle pressed into his side. The vendor‘s putrid breath was hot against his skin.

‘Thought you’d get away eh?’

Robert flung his kebab into the gutter.

‘Who the hell are you?’

‘Jack’s friend.’

Robert swayed forward and took the vendor’s shoulder as if to steady himself. He growled, ‘I make a better friend.’

The acrid aroma of burning kebabs filled the air. As he shoved the man away he screamed, ‘Fire!’ A crowd gathered around them. The vendor stumbled losing his balance. Robert grabbed his arm, twisted it and sent him flying across the pavement. He crashed into a wall and sank to his knees, surprise on his face.

“I make a bad enemy,” he said, running, pushing aside pedestrians. A bus pulled into the kerb across the street. Robert ran out onto the road. Cars tooted and yellow taxis skidded to avoid him. ‘Idiot!’ someone shouted shaking a fist at him.

He leapt up on to the pavement and jumped on board a bus going to where Lucy lived.

 

****

Cursing, the vendor threw his burning kebabs into a nearby bin and pulled out his mobile phone. He punched the numbers.

‘Lost him, Jack. ’

 

***

Robert ran up the stair case taking two steps at a time. The door to Lucy’s apartment was locked. He hammered on it. Flakes of peeling blue paint fell to the threadbare carpet. The door just down the hall way opened and an old lady, with bobbing white curls poked her head out.

‘You looking for Lucy?’

Robert stopped banging and took a step toward the old lady.  She cowered away.

‘No, I won’t hurt you. Promise.’ He shook his head vehemently.  I just need to find my daughter, Lucy.’

The old lady limped into the hallway, leaning heavily on her walking stick.

‘She’s gone to a friend’s.’

Exasperated but also relieved, Robert stepped toward her. She cowered away.

‘I know I told her to. Do you know where?’

‘Wait a minute.’

The old lady disappeared behind the closing door. Robert tried to catch it but missed. The lock clicked into place.

‘How do I know you’re her father?’ the old lady called through the door.

‘I have a photo in my wallet.’ He leaned down and slipped it under the door. ‘Here.’

Silence. The door squeaked open. The old lady peered around it. She studied him with squinting blue eyes and nodded. ‘Yes, I see a likeness.’

Suraya Dewing (NZ)

 

Comments

Poor old Robert seems to be running into a problem whichever way he turns. The thing is, where's the ticket and how is he going to claim the money. 'Putrid breath' - I'm going to use that phrase myself. I like it. Great chapter, Suraya. Plenty for the next writer to dig around.